Jackie Biskupski Becomes Salt Lake City's Second Woman Mayor

By: DiversityWorking Press
Date Posted: January 06, 2016
News Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

Jackie Biskupski has made history once again. She has just officially become Salt Lake City's 35th mayor, its second woman and first openly gay mayor. She was sworn into office on Monday, January 4.

An article by the Salt Lake Tribune published shortly before the new mayor was due to take her oath of office described her as a “groundbreaker.” The article begins by saying: Like many groundbreakers, Salt Lake City Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski has a steely determination that allowed her to navigate the treacherous political currents of Utah's Legislature as its first openly gay member. She has what they call grit.

The article then continues to sketch a portrait of a woman who rose to power simply armed with her “small-town ideals (that) led to a pioneering spirit.”

Biskupski was raised in a family where patriotism was bred. She was in fact named after Jackie Kennedy, SLT said in its article. She was thirteen that perhaps the seed of wanting to serve the community was planted in her.

As the SLT article continues: It was during that same period when Biskupski recalls a history class in which the then-13-year-old learned about the civil rights movement and the Equal Rights Amendment. At one point in class, she became overwhelmed by the notion that she would work in civil rights.
"I didn't know what that would be," Biskupski said. "But it was something I knew I would do."

What sparked her political aspiration “was a flap at East High School in 1995. A new club called the Gay/Straight Alliance caught the ire of school board members and legislators. The school board outlawed all clubs at East High to keep gay students and their supporters from meeting on school grounds. The ideals Biskupski had learned as a youngster in Hastings bubbled up.”

Being a lesbian lawmaker in conservative Utah was not an easy road for her, but Biskupski managed to override the “ slurs and legislators who wouldn't even look at her."

Yet in the end, it was her way of working with fellow legislators “in a collegial manner that won many over.”
"Jackie was able to do something many Democrats can't do," Hatch said of the Republican-dominated Legislature. "She developed that ability [to produce results] in that environment."

Acknowledging her ascendancy as mayor a landmark, Biskupski said “the historic moment should not be taken lightly.”
"I know that we have work to do still. And it is work that I take seriously," she told reporters. "But I am a firm believer that in order for true equality to exist for anyone, we must pursue it for everyone, and that is a goal of mine." - <a href="http://www.diversityworking.com/communityChannels/gayAndLesbian/newsPublish/story.php?sid=2084">click here</a>

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Read the full article at The Salt Lake Tribune

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